UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Quek, Pei Jin
National Institute of Education
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

An Academic Exercise submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for Bachelor of Arts (Hons)


With the advent of the 21'' Century, there is the emergent of new literacy which entails multimodality, a now dominant characteristic in numerous literature texts. There has been a paradigm shift from the reading of linguistic texts which entail a high level of lexical density and grammatical intricacy to multimodal texts which require an entirely new set of demands on the reader and this call for readers to adopt the use of new reading strategies. One such genre that encompasses multimodality significantly is the genre of comics and sequential art (CSA). CSA attracts readers of all ages, though it predominantly draws readers of the younger demographic stratification. There are four main devices incorporated in this genre of fiction in which linguistic and visual elements work together. They are. namely, the linguistic representation of sound, the visual representation of language, genre hybridity and the visual-linguistic synergy in meaning-making. These devices encourage the readers to construct meaning from a wide range of representations. The reading of such a multimodal genre specifically aids in the development of one's multiple intelligences.

This research endeavours to accentuate the significance of the new emerging reading culture by investigating the popularity and familiarity of a specific category of CSA, manga, that is Japanese comics, among Singaporean primary school students. The qualitative methodology entails a survey, a reading comprehension lesson observation and audio recording, a post-lesson exercise and interviews with individual students. The survey was conducted using 110 Primary 5 students from the EM3 stream, who are commonly deemed to be reluctant readers, to find out manga's popularity and their familiarity with manga. The reading comprehension lesson was conducted using the manga genre with a class of 14 students. In addition, the post-lesson exercise was given to determine the students' understanding of the text.

Interviews were conducted with 5 students who attended the reading comprehension lesson to elicit their views and opinions on the use of that genre for lessons. As the survey revealed more details pertaining to the familiarity and popularity of manga, the interviews revealed more about the students' perception on the integration of what is known to be 'out-of-school' literature into lessons. The students indicated approval and interest with the introduction of such a genre in class. Students felt that manga related their in-school literature to their 'out-of-school' literature and that such incorporation motivates them during lessons.

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